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Old 07-15-2007, 12:52 PM   #11
Chel
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I LOVED my Natasha. A rat was the best pet I ever had. Easy to care for, never bit, was smart and very affectionate.

With the sneezing, I would ask what bedding you are using. I would worry about using towels and such as they will chew right through them. It could simply be him adjusting to the different bedding you have him in.

Congrats on your new babies! I think your son made an EXCELLENT choice.

Here is a link I had bookmarked and found quite helpful and informative.

http://www.quite.co.uk/rats/
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Old 07-15-2007, 04:38 PM   #12
frostywolf
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Originally Posted by auburnchick View Post

They are dumbo rats.
If you paid more for these because they are dumbo rats, you got taken for a bit of a ride. Only one of those guys is a dumbo. The other is a standard (or top-eared) rat. I've seen pet stores around here put top-ears in the dumbo tank where they just so happen to cost more. But they sure are cute, anyway!

As for the sneezing, respiratory issues are the major health concern in rats. It is common for rats to sneeze for a couple of days when coming to a new home, it's just the stress of the move. However, many pet stores carry the SDA virus which is very contagious between rats, and fighting the virus weakens the rats immune system so much, it makes them much more susceptible to respiratory disease. SDA has a very high mortality rate. If your rat is only sneezing occasionally, but is eating/drinking fine and is otherwise active, I would give it a few days to settle down. If it continues, a vet visit is warranted. As was mentioned with the bedding, pine/cedar are BAD(!) and should not be used with any small animal. Aspen is okay, Carefresh is okay but it is dusty and causes many rats (and people) to sneeze. Personally, my rats have fabric in their cage with a litterbox filled with Yesterday's News cat litter (they sell it for small animals, but it's the same as the cat litter except in a smaller, more expensive bag).

I would find a vet now that is experienced with rats, since they are prone to respiratory infections and usually do need at least one vet visit for this in the course of their lives.

The best food for rats are lab blocks, but many people feed a homemade mix. Suebee's Rat Diet is the most common. I feed Suebee's except I use Harlan Teklad lab blocks instead of dog food.

If you have any other questions, you can pm me or visit Rats Rule. This is probably the most active and comprehensive rat forum on the 'net. If you go to the reference desk there are all sorts of helpful sites linked in the "Rat care sources on the internet" thread.

Hope your son enjoys his new friends!
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Old 07-15-2007, 04:46 PM   #13
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GOD LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are a better Mom than I!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 07-15-2007, 05:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by frostywolf View Post
Only one of those guys is a dumbo. The other is a standard (or top-eared) rat.
I'm curious...which one is the dumbo?

We're using Aspen at the bottom of the cage, and we used towels to cover the shelves so their feet won't get hurt. I read that you can cut placemats down to fit the cage to protect their feet. I may just do that.

As far as the sneezing...we'll keep an eye on it. He really is doing so well. The other one is very scared right now. He's spending a lot of time hiding in the cage when we don't have him out.

Where do you purchase the blocks?

Thanks a bunch for the link (and your patience with my questions)!

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Old 07-15-2007, 05:38 PM   #15
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The one with the stripe down his back (hooded is what that marking is called) is a top-eared rat. The one with the marking just on his head (capped) is the dumbo. Dumbo means that the ears are set slightly lower on the head. They are more open and rounded than top-ears.

Aspen is a good choice. I used to use it but the rats would kick it out of their cages and it tends to stick to the carpet and not vacuum up easily. Lots of people like it, though.

What kind of a cage do you have? As far as protecting their feet go, when I had wire cages I did not cover all the shelves. It used to be common thought that wire shelves contributed to bumblefoot. It's been shown now that bumblefoot is usually due to a genetics, obesity or unclean living conditions. However, if the spacing on the wire shelves is any bigger than 1/2" x 1/2", they need to be covered as larger spaces (1/2" x 1" for example) is ideal for trapping rattie feet and causing injury.

I purchase my lab blocks from Kim's Ark. Harlan Teklad are considered by many to be the best lab blocks, but marketed to labs and don't generally sell to the public. If you live near a HT wearhouse, you can pick them up, but they don't ship to private consumers. If you want the best lab block you can get in a pet store, Mazuri lab blocks are the way to go. You can get small bags in most Petsmart stores. Oxbow Regal Rat is another good lab block, but I, and many other rat owners, have had trouble getting rats to eat it. Any seed mixes are junk, it would be like feeding your child McDonald's or something every day.

Rats love hammocks and hidey boxes in their cages. I buy fabric remnants at Wal-mart, fabric/craft stores and just cut them into squares. Poke a hole in each corner and hang up with shower curtain rings. If you like to sew, you can sew on a top layer with a hole in the middle and that makes a pocket hammock. Fleece, cotton and flannel are the best for stuff like this, although, it looks like you are in Florida so fleece will probably be too warm.
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:01 PM   #16
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You are just a wealth of knowledge! And I thought I had thoroughly grilled the youngsters working at the pet store yesterday!

Here's the cage:



We pulled the wheel out of the cage this morning. It was so big. I have a feeling that we wasted our money. Hmmm...I actually might take it back.

We purchased a hammock today, but the little guys were not amused. We bought a little igloo house and a wood "birdhouse" looking thing. We scored with these! The guys have been sleeping in them this afternoon.

Your other ideas are just wonderful! From what I can tell, these guys like a little privacy, so we can mix things up a bit with fabric "curtains." One other thing the pet store people told us was to put in a box of kleenex and let the rats shred them. They told me that the rats would make bedding out of the kleenex and play with the box.

Lots of new things to learn...
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Old 07-16-2007, 11:11 PM   #17
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Aww! They are so cute! Though I've never owned rats, I love them, they are cute as can be and I've always heard very intelligent. If I didn't have 5 cats and 2 dogs, I would definitely get a couple rats; I just get so scared the cats would get to them or our Mastiff would knock over and destroy the cage.
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Old 07-17-2007, 08:53 AM   #18
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I have to say that this has been a fun thing.

The rats are starting to get more comfortable, and the big one (aka "Cadillac") is very friendly. When you open the door, he comes to it to see you now and even tries to climb out. He is a trip! The other one, Chance, is very shy. We're working with him a lot to make him comfortable. He just likes to snuggle where it's dark. They are just too doggone cute!
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Old 07-17-2007, 10:31 AM   #19
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they are just so cute!! and how nice to have expert advice! I'm glad they are adjusting and that everyone is happy.
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Old 07-17-2007, 06:07 PM   #20
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They are really cute, but I wish I hadn't seen the pix. It makes me feel bad... when it's time to feed my snake. She's eating rats bigger than that now... which reminds me, it's almost feeding day.

Sorry! It really does make me feel bad. :(
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